The Ladies of Horror Fiction team is putting a spotlight on Young Adult and Middle Grade horror each month. Below we are featuring the books that were released in March as well as what our team has been reading and reviewing.
Young Adult New Releases
Gallant by V. E. Schwab
Everything casts a shadow. Even the world we live in. And as with every shadow, there is a place where it must touch. A seam, where the shadow meets its source.
Olivia Prior has grown up in Merilance School for girls, and all she has of her past is her mother’s journal—which seems to unravel into madness. Then, a letter invites Olivia to come home—to Gallant. Yet when Olivia arrives, no one is expecting her. But Olivia is not about to leave the first place that feels like home, it doesn’t matter if her cousin Matthew is hostile or if she sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways.
Olivia knows that Gallant is hiding secrets, and she is determined to uncover them. When she crosses a ruined wall at just the right moment, Olivia finds herself in a place that is Gallant—but not. The manor is crumbling, the ghouls are solid, and a mysterious figure rules over all. Now Olivia sees what has unraveled generations of her family, and where her father may have come from.
Olivia has always wanted to belong somewhere, but will she take her place as a Prior, protecting our world against the Master of the House? Or will she take her place beside him?
A Night to Die For by Lisa Schroeder
The Night Of meets Carrie when a boy finds a girl’s body in the ditch on prom night…and becomes the primary suspect in her murder.
All Mario wants is one normal night before he graduates. He’s spent most of high school riding solo and gaming with his only friend, Lucas. But when his mom asks him to take Elana Dexter to the prom as a favor to her father, his mother’s boss, he figures this might be his chance to be less of a loner.
Only, the night takes a turn quickly. First, Mario gets crowned Prom King alongside the school’s it-girl, Maribelle Starr. Which is weird enough. But what’s weirder is that when they put the crown on his head, hundreds of worms slither out of it and all over Mario. Just when Mario thought the night couldn’t get any worse, he sees something on the side of the road while driving Elana home. That something is Prom Queen Maribelle Starr—murdered and left for dead.
All Mario wanted was to go to prom…but somehow, he ended up in hell.
The Book of Living Secrets by Madeleine Roux
Perfect for fans of The Hazel Wood, this genre-bending page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Madeleine Roux follows two girls who transport themselves into the world of their favorite book only to encounter the sinister alternate reality that awaits them.
No matter how different best friends Adelle and Connie are, one thing they’ve always had in common is their love of a little-known gothic romance novel called Moira. So when the girls are tempted by a mysterious stranger to enter the world of the book, they hardly suspect it will work. But suddenly they are in the world of Moira, living among characters they’ve obsessed about for years.
Except…all is not how they remembered it. The world has been turned upside down: The lavish balls and star-crossed love affairs are now interlaced with unspeakable horrors. The girls realize that something dark is lurking behind their foray into fiction—and they will have to rewrite their own arcs if they hope to escape this nightmare with their lives.
I Am Margaret Moore by Hannah Capin
Hannah Capin’s I Am Margaret Moore is a paranormal thriller that tests the hold of sisterhood and truth.
I am a girl. I am a monster, too.
Each summer the girls of Deck Five come back to Marshall Naval School. They sail on jewel-blue waters; they march on green drill-fields; they earn sunburns and honors. They push until they break apart and heal again, stronger.
Each summer Margaret and Rose and Flor and Nisreen come back to the place where they are girls, safe away from the world: sisters bound by something more than blood.
But this summer everything has changed. Girls are missing and a boy is dead. It’s because of Margaret Moore, the boys say. It’s because of what happened that night in the storm.
Margaret’s friends vanish one by one, swallowed up into the lies she has told about what happened between her and a boy with the world at his feet. Can she unravel the secrets of this summer and last, or will she be pulled under by the place she once called home?
What We Harvest by Ann Fraistat
For fans of Wilder Girls comes a nightmarish debut guaranteed to keep you up through the night, about an idyllic small town poisoned by its past, and one girl who must fight the strange disease that’s slowly claiming everyone she loves.
Wren owes everything she has to her home, Hollow’s End, a centuries-old, picture perfect American town. Tourists travel miles to marvel at its miracle crops, including the shimmering, iridescent wheat of Wren’s family farm. Until five months ago.
That’s when the quicksilver mercury blight first surfaced, poisoning the farms of Hollow’s End one by one. It began by consuming the crops–thick, silver sludge bleeding from the earth. Next were the animals. Infected livestock and wild creatures alike staggered off into the woods by day—only to return at night, their eyes, fogged white, leering from the trees.
Then, the blight came for the neighbors.
Wren is among the last locals standing. And the blight has finally come for her, too. Now, the only one she can turn to is the last person she wants to call: her ex, Derek. They haven’t spoken in months, but Wren and Derek still have one thing in common—Hollow’s End means everything to them. Only there’s much they don’t know about their hometown and its renowned miracle crops. And they’re about to discover that miracles aren’t free.
Their ancestors have an awful lot to pay for, and Wren and Derek are the only ones left to settle old debts.
My Dearest Darkest by Kayla Cottingham
WILDER GIRLS meets THE CRAFT in this Sapphic horror debut that asks: What price would you be willing to pay to achieve your deepest desires?
Finch Chamberlin is the newest transfer student to the ultra-competitive Ulalume Academy… but she’s also not what she seems. Months before school started, Finch and her parents got into an accident that should have left her dead at the bottom of a river. But something monstrous, and ancient, and terrifying, wouldn’t let her drown. Finch doesn’t know why she woke up after her heart stopped, but since dying she’s felt a constant pull from the school and the surrounding town of Rainwater, like something on the island is calling to her.
Selena St. Clair sees right through Finch, and she knows something is seriously wrong with her. But despite Selena’s suspicion, she feels drawn to Finch and has a sinking feeling that from now on the two will be inexplicably linked to one another.
One night Finch, Selena, and her friends accidentally summon a carnivorous creature of immense power in the depths of the school. It promises to grant every desire the girls have kept locked away in their insecure hearts―beauty, power, adoration―in exchange for a price: human body parts. But as the cost of their wanting becomes more deadly, Finch and Selena must learn to work together to stop the horror they unleashed, before it consumes the entire island.
Middle Grade New Releases
Field Guide to the Supernatural Universe by Alyson Noël
Stranger Things meets Sideways Stories from Wayside School in this quirky supernatural middle grade novel from New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël about a boy on an unlikely quest to uncover an enchanted book to defeat an unearthly nemesis.
When he first started seeing ghosts, Max mistakenly assumed everyone else could see them, too. Now, after years of being blamed for the pranks of mischievous spirits, Max is determined to do whatever it takes to make himself normal. But when he’s sent to spend the summer with his eccentric grandfather, Ramhart, being normal becomes impossible.
Here in Glimmerville, bakeries sell enchanted pies, the lake is infested with mermaids, the town’s beloved ghosts roam free, and Ramhart himself is celebrated as the world’s most famous monster hunter. At first, all Max wants is to survive the summer, but the more time he spends in Glimmerville, the more he starts to wonder if he’s finally found a place where he can truly be himself.
But when a supernatural attack steals Ramhart’s soul, Max—with the help of a few new friends—must go on a quest to find his grandfather’s renowned Field Guide, an enchanted book that contains all the knowledge Ramhart has gathered about defeating unearthly nemeses. And if they don’t find the book fast, Glimmerville will crumble into chaos, and Max will lose the only person who’s ever made him feel at home.
Dread Wood by Jennifer Killick
The brand new must-read middle-grade novel from the author of super-spooky Crater Lake. Perfect for 9+ fans of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps.
It’s basically the worst school detention ever. When classmates (but not mate-mates) Hallie, Angelo, Gustav and Naira are forced to come to school on a SATURDAY, they think things can’t get much worse. But they’re wrong. Things are about to get seriously scary.
What has dragged their teacher underground? Why do the creepy caretakers keeping humming the tune to Itsy Bitsy Spider? And what horrors lurk in the shadows, getting stronger and meaner every minute . . .? Cut off from help and in danger each time they touch the ground, the gang’s only hope is to work together. But it’s no coincidence that they’re all there on detention. Someone has been watching and plotting and is out for revenge . . .
Young Adult Books Reviewed
This month I (Jen) read and loved Girl in the Walls by Katy Michelle Quinn. Be sure to check out my review of Girl in the Walls (“Girl in the Walls is short (novella length) and is a coming-of-age, discovering-your-true-self story. It’s heartbreaking but it’s also wonderful.“)
Middle Grade Books Reviewed
This month Kathy read an reviewed Escape to Witch City by E. Latimer. Check out her review of Escape to Witch City (“Latimer’s book is a fun read that I enjoyed, and middle grade readers will love it.“)
Kathy also read and loved The Collectors by Lorien Lawrence. Don’t miss her review of The Collectors (“I highly recommend this book and series. I look forward to the third book.“)
Jen is one of our LOHF admins. Jen manages the technical side of the Ladies of Horror Fiction website. She also keeps a spotlight on middle grade and young adult horror each month.